There have been numerous books and classes taught on how to listen to God. I have often said that the main obstacle with prayer is that God doesn’t talk to us like you and I talk to each other – in an audible voice. I have been puzzled by that many times and no one has been able to adequately explain why. When you read in the Bible, you will see that he very much spoke to people but that gets explained away by the experts that when Jesus Christ went back to heaven that He sent the Holy Ghost. Well, aside from those who think the practice of “speaking in tongues” is the way He speaks to us today, the Holy Ghost He sent back to us is also silent as well.
So DOES God – or the Holy Ghost – speak to us really?
He can and he will but once again not in an audible voice.
In my experience, the best way to listen to God is when I am quiet in a quiet place. Silencing our minds and our environment around us. Do you know how hard that is to do? Try sitting in silence. Our world is obsessed with noise and distractions. No wonder people have a hard time hearing from God. Noise is a part of our lives.
The only way we can hear from God is when He has our undivided attention. Sitting still. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” It is difficult to hear from God when we are going in a million directions and have noise filling our ears.
It would be so easy for us if God spoke to us audibly but when God speaks in the quiet of our souls, it forces us to pay attention. Being still is a lot of work and requires time and effort on our parts to get to the place where God can speak to us.
So when we get quiet and still, how does God speak? When you clear your mind and open yourself to want to hear for God he will speak to your mind. This isn’t something we can do rather flippantly either. It takes work to separate your own thoughts from God speaking to you. One rule of thumb to remember is that if you think God is speaking to you and it is against his character then it is not from God. So what does this mean? It means it takes practice to discern the voices in your head. You have to build a relationship with God. Yes, reading the Bible is a huge part of it but necessary if you are going to learn about God’s character. You can’t let a preacher, church or writer in a blog tell you this. You have to experience it yourself.
In recent years I have gotten more quality time listening to God when I have been sitting quietly in a park or enjoying nature than sitting on a church pew. I spent years sitting on the pew and have never experienced God like I do now. I can only speak for myself. I can’t speak for you.
It is too easy to constantly ask God for things but don’t stop to listen or be still. The act of being still and getting quiet is a challenge in our hectic world. God wants us to be still so that we can have a relationship with him and so that we can have peace and receive guidance.
Silence scares us. When we are silent we are often forced to face ourselves and issues we might be avoiding. We can easily block it out by turning on the television, surfing the Internet or texting. When we are silent before God, we can turn from us being in control to allowing God to guide us. It makes room for God’s presence when we aren’t doing all the talking or wanting to have our own way.
It takes practice. Isn’t having peace in our lives worth it?